Whether you opt for the sedan or hatchback variant, Ford’s feisty 2016 Fiesta offers fuel-efficient fun. The subcompact represents excellent value even in a highly competitive segment that celebrates getting more for less. Living up to its name, Ford’s Fiesta proves that being thrifty doesn’t have to be boring.

Pricing and Equipment

The 2016 Ford Fiesta is available in 6 trim levels and a sport ST model.

The base S Sedan (MSRP, $14,580) and S Hatchback (MSRP, $14,880) are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission is optional.

  • S models offer minimal frills, they have manual windows for instance, but offer great basic transportation.

The SE Sedan (MSRP, $15,810) and SE Hatchback (MSRP, $16,110) also get the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual, but are available with a 1-liter turbocharged Ecoboost three-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission. The 1.6-liter can be attached to an optional six-speed automatic transmission.

  • SE models include power windows, upgraded seating materials, and a nice package of standard tech equipment.
  • The SE is the only way to get the Fiesta with the optional 1-liter turbocharged engine.

The top-trim Titanium Sedan (MSRP, $18,530) and Titanium Hatchback (MSRP, $18,830) are powered by the 1.6-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission; the six-speed automatic is optional.

  • Titanium models are equipped with leather seats, SYNC3 infotainment, a Sony branded audio system, rearview camera and much more.

Enthusiasts will love the ST Hatchback (MSRP, $21,460) which features a 1.6-liter turbocharged Ecoboost four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission.

  • The ST’s upgraded suspension, brakes, steering and tires combine to set the Fiesta ST apart, taking the fiesta to the next level, pun intended.

*Starting prices do not include $875 destination charge.

Performance Pros

Ford Fiesta

The 2016 Fiesta is available with three engine choices:

  • The base 1.6-liter four-cylinder produces 120 horsepower and 112 pound-feet of torque. When coupled with the five-speed manual, the Fiesta offers a spirited driving experience that isn’t necessarily fast, but is fun. The optional six-speed PowerShift automatic has a tendency to be a little clunky, but is an efficient alternative for those who want the convenience. Fuel economy is strong at 26 mpg city and 36 mpg highway with the manual, 27 mpg city and 37 mpg highway with the automatic.
  • An optional 1-liter turbocharged Ecoboost three-cylinder engine is available on SE trims with the manual transmission. The tiny turbo produces 123 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque, and the increased power adds to the Fiesta’s spunky personality. The thrifty engine also boasts excellent fuel economy numbers: 31 mpg city and 43 mpg highway.
  • Enthusiasts will admire Ford’s 1.6-liter turbocharged Ecoboost four-cylinder engine that creates 197 horsepower and 202 pound-feet of torque. Combining this powertrain with the Fiesta’s light curb weight, and upgraded steering and suspension, makes the Fiesta ST the life of the party -- again, pun intended. Fuel economy remains excellent at an estimated 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway with the manual and 27 mpg city and 37 mpg highway when equipped with the automatic.

Performance Cons

  • The 1-liter Ecoboost is only available in the SE trim, and even then only with the five-speed manual transmission.
  • The six-speed automatic delivers bland shifting performance.
  • The base 1.6-liter engine doesn't sound all that great when pushed.

Interior Pros

Ford Fiesta Interior

The Fiesta’s interior is well put together, although certainly on a budget, especially on the base trim level. That said, for the price you really do get quite a bit of car.

  • Moving up to the SE will satisfy those desiring low-cost basic transportation with some modern touches.
  • The SE's cloth interior is durable and the seats, while not perfect, are relatively supportive and comfortable for the segment.
  • Those who like the Fiesta’s overall performance and styling will want to invest in the top-trim Titanium model with its leather seating, upgraded SYNC3 infotainment system and Sony branded audio.
  • ST models also feature the SYNC3 system and can be equipped with some nicely bolstered Recaro sport seats.

Interior Cons

  • Some find the Fiesta's standard seats uncomfortable.
  • Rear seats do not fold flat, limiting the cargo area's usefulness.
  • Basic models are pretty basic. You may need instructions on how to operate that rarely seen feature: manual windows.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The steering feel of the Fiesta, regardless of trim level, is surprisingly good.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The standard equipment on the base model truly relegates the trim level to basic transportation.

The Bottom Line

If you are shopping for an efficient subcompact that is fun to drive and attractive, especially in the hatchback variant, the 2016 Ford Fiesta is an excellent choice. While not perfect -- and most base subcompacts aren't -- the Fiesta offers excellent value and driving dynamics that live up to the name.

The Fiesta ST is at another level altogether, I could easily own and drive this car and I have very little interest in the subcompact segment. It is just that fun.